I was not at hospital on day Zephany disappeared - kidnap accused

2016-02-29 13:21
The woman accused of kidnapping Zephany Nurse leaves the Western Cape High Court. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

The woman accused of kidnapping Zephany Nurse leaves the Western Cape High Court. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

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Cape Town - The woman accused of snatching baby Zephany Nurse while her mother lay sleeping, on Monday reiterated her claim that she was not at Groote Schuur Hospital on the day of the kidnapping in 1997.

Prior to the infant’s disappearance, she had last been to the hospital in Observatory in 1993, after her then-husband severely assaulted her, and also later for gynaecological problems, the 51-year-old accused told the Western Cape High Court.

Her lawyer, Raez Khan, was questioning her. She may not be named to protect the teenager’s identity. She is on trial on charges of kidnapping, fraud and contravention of the Children’s Act, to which she has pleaded not guilty.

She told Judge John Hlophe that she next visited the facility on May 12, 1997, when her sister gave birth. She said she had taken baby Zephany along with her on that day.

‘Accused tried to steal my baby’

The Lavender Hill woman criticised the evidence of State witness Shireen Piet.

Piet testified last week that the woman was in the maternity ward on the day the baby was snatched. She described the suspect as having blonde hair with grey streaks.

Photos supplied of her in the months before and after the kidnapping showed her hair was dark.

Piet had pointed the woman out in the accused’s box. She testified that she tried to steal her own newborn baby girl hours before Zephany’s disappearance.

The accused denied this, saying the first time she saw Piet was at an ID parade last year. Piet had definitively pointed her out from a group of 11 women after five minutes.

The accused testified that she met a woman called Sylvia in Tygerberg Hospital after suffering a miscarriage in December 1996. Sylvia said she helped those with fertility problems, and could arrange adoptions.

Seventeen years later...

The accused testified that she paid the R800 deposit for the medication to help her conceive. After it did not work, Sylvia asked her if she would be open to adoption.

During a planned meeting at Wynberg Train Station in April, an unknown woman told the accused that Sylvia had sent her to hand over the baby. No agreement was made for a baby to be given to her, the accused said.

This was despite her having previously told Sylvia she wanted to meet the baby's mother and have all the child’s documents.

While she thought something was amiss, Sylvia previously told her the young mother did not want the child. She never saw Sylvia again and the child’s birth certificate arrived by mail at her home six years later, she told the court.

Seventeen years later, it was discovered that the baby was Zephany, who was abducted three days after birth.

The woman was arrested in February 2015. The matter came to light when the girl's biological sister, who is four years younger, told her parents that a matric girl at her school bore a striking resemblance to her and her parents.

When the parents discovered the girl had the same birthday as the day their child disappeared, they reported it to police. DNA tests confirmed the teen was indeed their daughter.

Read more on:    zephany nurse  |  cape town  |  crime  |  abductions

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